Faryab drivers protest against extortion
MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Drivers on Thursday staged a protest demonstration in the capital of northwestern Faryab province against extortion by armed commanders.
The drivers from Pashtunkot, Balcharagh, Garziwan and Kohistan districts protested in front of the provincial council in Maimana, the provincial capital.
They said there were nine illegal check-points between Maimana and Garziwan district and each minibus was charged 200 to 500 afghanis at each check post. The drivers said those refusing to pay the money were beaten.
The provincial council and the civil society network also confirmed illegal check-points existed on the road between Maimana and Balcharagh and Garziwan districts and drivers were robbed of money.
A mini-bus driver, Baz Mohammad said, the extortion had made it hard for drivers to fulfill oil and other expenses.
He asked the government to stop the illegal armed men from looting people.
Hafizullah, another driver, said the armed men would charge 200 afs at three check-points in the past; but now the number of the posts had reached nine and they charged 4000 afghanis.
Provincial council deputy head, Abdul Ahad Alibak, confirmed the extortion by several illegal armed commanders in the disguise of uprising forces. He said people had complained about the matter to the provincial council.
He said the extortion issue had been discussed by the Provincial Security Committee. Everyone creating illegal check-points and extorting money from people would be identified and punished under the law, he said.
The armed men take 500 afghanis from a mini-bus and 1000 afghanis from a truckload.
Civil Society Network head, Sayed Zainuddin, believed brutality and misbehavior of illegal gunmen coerced local residents into swelling the ranks of militants and uprising groups.
He said if serious attention was not paid to the problem, the distance between the people and the government would increase which would have bad consequences in future.
Faryab police spokesman Abdul Karim Yoresh also acknowledged illegal armed groups had established check-points and were taking money from people.
Yoresh said a delegation has been appointed to travel to Balcharagh and Garziwan districts to investigate the issue.
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